Contractors come in all shapes and sizes. From small “Chuck in the truck” type operations to very large national, multimillion dollar companies. Home improvement projects cost thousands of dollars. Understandably most homeowners are anxious about choosing the contractor that’s right for them and their project. Let’s take a look at what you can probably expect from each type of contractor…
“Chuck in the truck” is a small, hands on business. He may be a skilled installer (you’ll find out) but does not run an organized business. They often provide a handwritten estimate but no contract to protect you if something goes wrong. Their price might seem surprisingly low but that comes at a higher cost later on. They are usually hard to reach by phone or email and don’t show up when promised. Hiring this type of contractor often ends up a frustrating experience.
The larger organizations that you might see advertised on TV, or hear on the radio, are nothing more than marketing operations. They often send a team of two to the initial appointment. This is big red flag as they then play one against the other attempting to close the deal that night! They have a 2-4 hour sales pitch whether you want to hear it or not. The intention is to engender doubt that if you choose another product or company you’re doomed for the rest of you life. They use high pressure tactics, are well trained in manipulation, and charge 2-3 times more than the right contractor. To add insult to injury, they offer discounts for a good review and you’re usually so disappointed with how much you paid that you’ll do anything to get some money back.
Like most things in life, there’s a happy medium. There are many contractors out there that run a very sophisticated business, are local, family owned, and truly care about what you want out of the experience. They truly care about your home! This contractor meets with you on your terms and asks about your expectations. They tell you as much as you want to know about the products and what kind of experience to expect. This contractor usually gives a price somewhere between Chuck in the truck and the big guys and is easy to get a hold of. Often times you’ll deal directly with the owner or have access to the owner.
We all tell when something feels right – a gut feeling or intuition. Always go with that. If you’re excited by a low price but nervous about whether you’ll get a good installation or be able to reach the contractor after the sale, trust your gut. If you feel anxious during the sales presentation of one of the big companies, trust your gut. Buyers remorse lasts a long time.